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Bender seeks to remain Franklin Co. treasurer

February 09, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County Treasurer Chris A. Bender announced Tuesday he is running for re-election to a second four-year term.

Bender, 43, of 311 Pine Drive, Fayetteville, Pa., will be seeking the Republican nomination in the May 17 primary. Two other candidates, financial services executive David Secor of Chambersburg and Fannett-Metal school board member Derek Stoy of Fort Loudon, Pa., previously announced they are running for the GOP nomination, which pays $54,107 this year, according to county records.

"The office of treasurer is now completely computerized for the purpose of banking," Bender stated in his announcement. Bender said the system, which handles money transfers, stop payment orders on checks, account tracking and other banking needs, was provided to the county through a local bank and did not cost any taxpayers' money.

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In 2003, the office also began using a computerized system to track the many licenses issued by the Treasurer's Office, he said. Those include several categories of hunting and fishing licenses, as well as licenses for dogs, bingo and small games of chance, he said.

In the past three years, Bender said his office also has streamlined the county's banking operations.

"When I first took over here, there were more than 100 checking accounts for the county. We've narrowed that down to about 40," he said Tuesday.

"I've saved the county money in investments," Bender said. "With the limited funds we have here, I think I've invested well."

Among the investments his office handles are the county's 2002 $8 million bond issue, a $2 million fund earmarked for farmland preservation and collection of the county's hotel tax for recreation.

He said his investment decisions have improved the rate of return and cut the costs of managing those accounts.

In his announcement, Bender stated that a recent state audit of his first two years in office "was clean and clearly showed there were no improprieties in the accounting practices or the profession manner" in which he runs the office.

Prior to being elected treasurer, Bender served eight years as Guilford Township's tax collector. In the past, Bender served as a township constable and as a Franklin County Republican Committee member.

Candidates may begin circulating nominating petitions Feb. 15. The deadline to file petitions to appear on the primary ballot is March 8.

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